Noteworthy Events

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Plans until mid 1952

The U-boat-Flotilla envisaged for the East German Navy was initially to receive the following U-boats, until the first own developments would be ready for commissioning

  • 5 former Kriegsmarine Type VII C-U-boats taken over by the Soviet Navy
  • 2 former Kriegsmarine-U-boats, still to be raised (Type VII C/41-U-boat U 1308 and Type XXIII-U-boat U 2344)
  • 2 coastal submarines of Type “M/ Serial XV” (Malyukti) of the Soviet Navy
Mid 1952

Extention started in the Southern part of the port of Saßnitz on the Island of Rügen to accommodate facilities for submarine berthing, such as a finger pier with shore utilities.
While being engaged in the construction of the first Minesweepers (Type “Habicht”) for the East German Navy the Volkswerft (= “People´s Shipyard”) Stralsund is directed to come up with a development and construction programme for 14 coastal submarines with 320 to displacement each, construction to start in April 1954. After a pre-series U-boat in the second quarter of 1954 further U-boats to be built in 3-months sequence.

November 1952

First groups of personnel (foremost former ex U-boat Petty Officers) are being assembled for future training of U-boat crews at the “U-Bootlehranstalt” (Submarine Training Establishment), which is in build up at Saßnitz-Dwasieden.

04 January 1953

By Directive No. 1/53 of 04 January 1953 the Commanding Officer of the “Volkspolizei See” (= People´s Sea Police), Inspector General (= Vice Admiral) Waldemar Verner orders the start of training at the “1st U-Bootlehranstalt/ ULA” (= 1st Submarine Training Establishment) with effect of 05 January 1953. , The East German code name for the establishment was “Dienststelle S 7” (= Agency S 7), with “S” standing for “Sonderobjekt” (= Special Facility), in February 1953 it was changed to “S 8”. When fully established, the ULA was to provide for training capacities for up to 50 Officers in four classes (Commanding Officers, Officers of the Watch, Torpedo Officers and Engineering Officers), further 150 Petty Officers and 280 Ratings. The agency had a Liaison Staff of experienced Soviet Submariners.

February 1953

In February 1953 the U-boat U 1308 (ex Kriegsmarine Type VII C/41) is raised off Warnemünde, where on 01 May 1945 its crew carried out the scutteling of the vessel. The salvage was in execution of Project 20 “Stichling” (= Stickleback) and started with the clearance of mud at Rostock. In November 1953 the vessel is towed to the Volkswerft Stralsund. During the hauling out an accident caused severe damage to the vessel (project manager Rudolf Gellert was actually arrested for espionage and comes free from detention only after five months), which prevented the vessel from being placed in dry storage until December 1953. Although Project “Stichling” is cancelled officially in the Spring of 1954 the U-boat is measured and documented further until the Autumn of 1954. However, due to the definitive cancellation of any submarine construction ex U1308 is scrapped in early 1955.

March 1953

The so called “Zeuthener Protokoll” (“Measures required to execute the Naval Shipbuilding Programme 1954-1956”, drafted by Design Engineers Walter Schlaak and Klewitz of the “Zentrales Konstruktions-büro/ ZKB” (= Central Design Office for Shipbuilding) No.1 at Wolgast introduces an ambitious Naval shipbuilding programme (about 200 warships and another 50 auxiliaries) for East Germany, inter alia the construction of some 14 U-boats of 750 t each, scheduled to start in 1954. This reflected a wish by the Soviets, as it has been indicated by them before at several occasions.

13 June 1953

The programme of design and construction of own U-boats is being “liquidated” officially by the appropriate government agency and is not revitalized anymore thereafter, although comprehensive infrastructural preparatory measures had been taken already. The cancellation occurred mainly for financial and material reasons, nevertheless the Soviet Union continued to express her desire for the creation of an East German submarine force until the 1980ies, even through purchasing Soviet submarines.

17 June 1953

In the wake of the uprising of 17th of June 1953 the number of vessels in the Naval shipbuilding programme is reduced significantly, U-boats are not mentioned at all any longer in the follow up Naval shipbuilding programmes. Main reason for this is the vastly out of proportion Naval shipbuilding programme for the East German Navy, which overstrained the technological and, above all, the financial capabilities of East Germany. The reduction of the shipbuilding programme occurred clearly in light of the ongoing severe reparation burden East Germany had to carry to satisfy the demands of the Soviet Unions as well as through acknowledging the need to lower the high work norms significantly after the uprising of 17th of June 1953.

28 July 1953

Interior Minister Willy Stoph directs the immediate dissolution of the Submarine Training Establishment.

31 July 1953

The Commanding Officer of the “Volkspolizei See” (= People´s Sea Police), Inspector General (= Vice Admiral) Waldemar Verner orders the end of any training at the Submarine Training Establishment (ULA) with effect of 01st of August 1953. The school was dissolved immediately and most of the staff re-appointed. The establishment was transferred into a school for Intelligence Officers. At its end, the ULA had grown to about 660 staff. The instructor staff comprised some 64 Officers, 63 Petty Officers and 54 Ratings, student numbers were 53 Officers, 149 Petty Officers and 280 Ratings. This was sufficient to man the planned U-boats with crews between 35 and 40 men each.

08 April 1954

Another study is drafted: “Think Paper on the Expediency of Organizing a Submarine Force for the People´s Sea Police”. This proves an ongoing interest in a submarine force for the East German Navy and the documented repeated encouragements for this by Soviet military circles provide for an additional confirmation of this motion.

January 1955

The ex Kriegsmarine U-boat U 2344 (Type XXIII, sank on 18th of February 1945 off Heiligendamm after a collision with U 2336, another Type XXIII U-boat) is salvaged as originally planned, although the creation of a submarine force had been abandoned in 1953. After its raising it is brought to the Neptun-Werft at Rostock to undergo initial restoration and documentation. However, further work was interrupted in 1956/57, to eventually being decided for scrapping because of the irreparable damages to the vessel. This salvage should, however, not be considered to be another attempt to create a submarine force for the East German Navy. Rather, the U-boat was intended to function as target demonstrator during Anti Submarine Warfare Training of the East German Naval surface forces.